Haiti earthquake: Red Cross teams race against time to find survivors before tropical storm hits

Port au Prince, Panama, Geneva, 16 August 2021--With Tropical Storm Grace due to bring heavy rainfall over Haiti on Tuesday, Red Cross teams are racing against time to rescue people buried in the rubble after a 7.2 magnitude earthquake hit Haiti on 14 August.

The number of casualties is climbing while the number of people missing remains unclear. Early damage assessments by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) indicate more than 800,000 people are directly affected by the earthquake’s impact.

IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain said: This is a major disaster that will get worse as Tropical Storm Grace heads to Haiti. Hundreds of our local volunteers, themselves affected by this disaster, have been working around the clock in the hope to find survivors, provide first aid, health care and emergency shelter.”

 Hospitals, clinics, roads and bridges have been destroyed and thousands of people have lost their homes.  We know that this response will be challenging which is why we are mobilizing our global network to support the Haitian Red Cross as fast as possible.”

The worst-hit areas are extremely hard to access, as roads and bridges have been destroyed, and this makes it extremely difficult to assess the scale of devastation.

 To support the Haitian Red Cross and scale up its operation, the IFRC has released funding from its emergency fund (DREF) and launched an emergency appeal for 10 million Swiss francs to deliver assistance to  people in need of immediate assistance, including those who have been displaced.

IFRC Secretary General, Jagan Chapagain, said: “Our global network of National Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies is fully mobilized to support Haiti and its people, who face multiple crises including political instability, gang violence, food insecurity and the COVID-19 pandemic.”

The appeal will allow the IFRC network to provide critical, life-saving support such as emergency shelter and basic household items, emergency health and care, including psychosocial support, livelihoods support, access to water, sanitation and hygiene and restoring family links.

For more information, to arrange interviews with Red Cross staff on the ground or request pictures, please contact:

In Panama: Maria Langman | +507 6550 1090 | maria.langman@ifrc.org

In Geneva: Ann Vaessen | +4179 405 77 50 | ann.vaessen@ifrc.org